The dog who flew high, but for too short a time – Orange County Register

Sometimes, describing a life as “blue” isn’t a bad thing.

It certainly wasn’t in JetBlue’s case.

The Aussie, as I often referred to him, led quite a charmed life. My first dog to come from a breeder met us when he was 2 days old. My roommate, Susan, and I visited him weekly for 10 weeks, the age at which he was ready to come home. I have photos of Susan holding him in the palm of her hand, his mouth open in a wide, wide yawn (though even then, I think what he really was doing was trying to talk).

Even near the end, JetBlue remained alert. His brain was all there, but his body had quit trying. (Photo by Maryanne Dell, Orange County Register/SCNG)

JetBlue was just a little bit spoiled. Like Fly, the puppy before him, JetBlue spent his first night at home in a crate. Unlike Fly, JetBlue never spent another night in a crate. He barked. And barked. We put him in the hall. Closed our bedroom doors. Put a blanket over the entire crate except for the end farthest from the bedrooms. (I really wanted him to stop barking. I did not want him to suffocate.) And still, my dreams that night were full of barking dogs. I wonder why …

He did, however, ride beautifully in a crate in the car. I never had a lick of trouble with him there. I think it was because he could see me. Like most Aussies, JetBlue did not like to be out of sight of his people. Ever. Let’s just say using the facilities was never a lonely proposition in our house.

We tried agility for a few years, and he enjoyed it, but we weren’t progressing a lot (OK, my fault; I rarely practiced outside of class, and you can’t expect to make any headway in the sport unless you do), and finally we stopped. That was OK by JetBlue. The only sport he loved was chasing his ball.

He’d bring it outside, put it on the ground, and emit a low rumble that meant, “Well? Are you going to just sit there or are you going to throw it?” The rumble would eventually turn into a bark (Aussies are nothing if not persistent) that would turn into throwing the ball. Yeah, he had us trained.

I would point to him as an example of the type of dog a breeder should produce. From well-screened and tested parents and ancestors, he was healthy. He was well-socialized, being handled by all kinds and sizes of people.The breeder interviewed us as much as we interviewed her. She welcomed our weekly visits to watch the blue boy grow and spend time with him.

And since I fed the best food I could, added important supplements,…

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